Raman Raghav 2.0 (2016) – Killer’s Kiss

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Raman Raghav 2.0 is not a story about the notorious serial killer of the 60s. It features his inspired fanboy who kills for fun. That fan is Ramanna (Nawazuddin Siddiqui) killing without qualms or an iota of remorse because he kills for the sake of it, as an end and not a means – as punishment, not liberation.

Ramanna enters a killing spree and soon becomes the most sought after killer. Investigating his case is the morally bankrupt ACP Raghavan (Vicky Kaushal) – who’s into drugs and has a heart of a psychopath behind the rags of khaki. The difference here is mere symptomatic.

Ramanna doesn’t need to hide behind any ideological mission to punish his perpetrators. Raghavan’s job is to punish. Here begins the story of these soulmates – the evil and the devil as two sides of the same coin– their only mission to kill: whether it’s people, or their souls within.

The screenplay of Raman Raghav 2.0 is consistent. It’s divided into chapters. Following the two characters simultaneously, Anurag Kashyap and his co-writer, Vasan Bala, create a contrast in their characterizations. Both are confused and both are driven by their thirst. For Raghavan, it’s narcotics and for Ramanna, it’s the smell of blood. Ramanna’s confusion stems from his assured-self, contradictory as it sounds. Raghavan’s confusion is more existentialist. He’s a lost soul.

13177326_884735191649046_4481842317797411431_nThese factors are barely obvious and the latent violence present in the movie makes it a disturbing affair. The gore occurs off-screen, but this suggestion makes it more unsettling – leaving it to the minds of the viewers to gauge the inhuman chaos than the vicarious rendering of violence on-screen.

The star element is of course Nawazuddin Siddiqui. In many scenes, Nawaz bowls you out with his demeanor as the starry-eyed fanboy of a dangerous killer. The opening sequence has Ramanna confessing to his crimes. His coolness is apparent when he talks in detail about the murders. There’s almost a sense of hilarity in all of this – and the scene, powerful as it is, blows you away with just the dialogs and performances albeit aided by the subdued sound effects.

It’s that instance when Ramanna finds his Raghav – and there begins a tale that brings together Raman and Raghav forming an unlikely union that is as dubious for Raghavan as it is for the spectators. There’s a similar scene when Ramanna enjoys his chicken in a pep talk with Paket – before he’s about to become a paketmaar (pickpocketer). That’s symbolic of course, but in that one phrase – Nawaz’s perilous mind reveals itself. It sends chills down your spine and Nawaz pulls it off with a nippiness that’s difficult to digest.

Raman Raghav 2.0 is, hence, nippy. It’s not enjoying as much as it’s gripping. The devilish tone tries to do justice to Nawaz’s performance. In fact, Nawaz makes you feel sympathetic towards the character – a commendable job done by Kashyap, Bala, and the actor.

Where Raman Raghav deters is the direction. Anurag Kashyap is an accomplished director. Not a constant here, save for a brilliant performance by Nawaz, Raman Raghav doesn’t leave a lasting impression by the end. Kashyap’s movies usually have power climaxes – Ugly, Gangs of Wasseypur series, No Smoking, and even his commercial try-out, Dev D. With Raman Raghav 2.0, the evolutions of the characters complete an arc, but there’s not much one would take away from the movie – except the scenes featuring Ramanna.

The usual slow pacing and a plot that’s far from unique – work against the powerful character of Ramanna. I can understand why Kashyap went for a methodical pace. Yet, the story presents nothing new – even if it’s difficult in the serial-killer genre by now.

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Nawaz’s performance deserved a story worth remembering for more than just the performance. There are elements Kashyap instills that are sure to, “push the envelope,” as he’s always tried with his cinema. It almost appears like desi-style innuendo from Park-Chan Wook – only the auteurship is Kashyap’s. The sunglass motif defines the movie concisely.

A fun fact: Pran as Michael D’Souza in Salim-Javed’s 1974 classic Majboor had a similar way of zeroing in – with his hand cupping over his eyes like a binocular. Incidentally, Pran borrowed this from director Ravi Tandon who used to frame his scenes this way!

Not sure whether Nawaz’s reenaction was a tribute or a perfect accident. Whatever the case, it compliments Nawaz as the delirious killer.

The Dark Mirror (1946) – Crude Reflections

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Starcast

Olivia de Havilland as Terry Collins and Ruth Collins
Lew Ayres as Dr. Scott Elliott
Thomas Mitchell as Lt. Stevenson
Richard Long as Rusty

Two sisters form a cumbersome bond that shields them from the ulterior motives of the world. This bond helps them fend off unwanted predicaments. It’s almost like having an automated backup plan to everything. When these sisters happen to be identical twins, it’s hard to distinguish one from the other, which works as an added advantage for both.

The same advantage turns into a gross disadvantage when, allegedly, one of the sisters commit murder. All reflections could be useless, but as with the nature of the beast itself, who is to distinguish the criminal from the innocent, the captive from the free?

Terry and Ruth Collins are identical twins. Physically indistinguishable they may be, but their attitude towards life is completely different. When Dr. Frank is murdered one evening, the Police led by Lt. Stevenson follow their cues and reach the twins. Unable to discover concrete evidence against the twins because both have their own alibis, the police accept the inherent weakness in their accusation and turn to ace psychologist Dr. Scott Elliott instead to unravel the mystery. Performing various tests on the twins, Dr. Elliott arrives at a deadly conclusion [plot point ahead]: one of the twins is paranoid, with conscience of a 2-year-old and a ravaging jealousy for her sister. One of the two cannot accept the other being liked, whilst she continues to be rejected in favor of her sister. Who is nice and who is not so nice? That’s all this thriller is all about.

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The Dark Mirror is mysterious, but for all the thrills and intrigues, it’s a cool watch and a breezy ride of 90 minutes. The content is light for the heavy themes it carries. A psychological study of human nature, The Dark Mirror trots from psychiatry to romance, crime, jealousy, and murder with ease. And, considering the grave story, it’s perplexing how easy on the eye (and mind) the movie is. One of the simplest made Noirs, the pace is swift, the story ticks on—building to the climax gently almost like an education of sorts. Such blending of hard-hitting realities with the subtle emotions really makes it stand out as an early classic in the genre.

Olivia de Havilland plays the twins—one who is charming, other who is deranged. What’s amazing is the masterful showcasing of special effects considering the era. Implanting both the sisters together on-screen, and that’s for good parts of the movie, director Robert Siodmak fascinates with the powerful combination of early special effects, gripping storytelling, and tight direction. The show stealer obviously is the show itself, Olivia de Havilland. It’s her movie, hence, her role, and she portrays both personalities with point precision. Adding her poignant touch to the roles, one is bound to appreciate her performances as both Terry and Ruth. The fact that these performances aren’t talked about is a nothing short of a shame. It’s one of the finest performances by a lead.

Stark cinematography (Milton Krasner), terrific use of lights and shadows, and the powerful motif of the mirror signifying the theme of reflection—opposite of what we are and never the exact copy—The Dark Mirror is a classic. Almost 70 years have passed since it hit the screens. Back then, it didn’t rake in as much appreciation as it ought to have. Today, it stands out as a tense psychological study balancing the various components of storytelling, with stylish use of cinematic techniques.

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It wouldn’t be precise to call Noir movies warm and uplifting, but those words wouldn’t be wasted if showered on The Dark Mirror. It manages to be intriguing, while maintaining a coziness that makes this movie a pleasant watch and an entertaining journey about two sisters cut from the same fabric, designed by different couturiers.

Audition (1999) – Cruel Intentions

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Asami Yamazaki (Eihi Shiina) is a fragile young woman subjected to abuse and molestation by her uncle, half-father, and it would appear—every man in the world. That’s her subconscious projecting reality. Growing under cruel intentions, Asami shapes herself as a distant person. She is not what she seems. In the same city, a well-established Shigeharu Aoyama (Ryo Ishibashi), single-father, after living through loneliness as it would appear again, resolves to find a prospective partner. Designed with such objectives, Aoyama and his friend, played by Jun Kunimura, hold a mock audition under the mask of a casting exercise for a new movie. In the auditions, Aoyama and Asami face off, and from there on, begins their saga of romance, healing, and redemption.

Released in 1999, a movie that catapulted Takashi Miike into fame, Audition isn’t a horror movie—or at least, it has nothing related with the popular coinage of horror in films. As a director, Miike has established himself as one versatile artist behind the lens. Audition is that epitome of an example engulfing the filming philosophy of Miike, whist decorating horror in a different light in a style strictly reserved to Asian filmmakers and the Cinema of Asia.

Audition is a perplexing, pragmatic story; the emphasis lying on the thematic delivery of today’s social issues, succoring the intrigue of horror as its rollers, in this cinematic journey from outside to inside. As a movie, it has a guise under which we could find layers of metaphorical realities pervading our world. Utilizing a distortive method in dictating this dramatic horror, the story—penned as a novel by Ryu Murakami—has this woman, Asami, acting out her psychological conditionings, a result of a history of violence as a tool for catharsis. Going by the limb of Philosophy, what you get is what you have and what you have is what you could give. Using this mantra, the despair associated with childhood becomes the centripetal point and gives direction to life, the very perspective rising out of this minute phenomenon. This evidence, in form of visual and narrative fiction, finds its reprise through Asami—her deliberate, thorough, and premeditated mode of processing with one single point in her life: to give back what she got…

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The polar opposite of Asami, her prospective suitor, is another such individual, but of the normal kind in this society having the power and position to dictate terms and treat those less privileged beings in an exclusive manner suitable to those who belong. His point of view is hardly revealed in the narrative, yet in the sequences that takes us to the precursor of it all, we understand the story in a cloudy, grose, and almost puke-worthy fashion—all seeming obvious to the eyes.

As a cinema, Audition takes shape as a tale of two contrasting forces of which is shown in a dark romantic coating for much of the time. Only in the final third of the movie, we get to witness the mysterious prosecution explode with mass sadism at its zenith. Much of the sadism and the onscreen violence is a mere reflector of the inner psychology of the characters alive in the movie—a symbolic staging that is painful to watch because of the numbing, utterly chaotic portrayal. The psychological impact the entire thing has on the psyche of the viewer while watching all of that unravel in the final portions—shuddering, spine chilling…

Despite such a twisted, and a bizarre plot meshed with an artistic charm for much of it; only to be crippled by the surreal display of explicit viciousness, Audition floats as a gutsy metaphor against male chauvinism opposed by vehemence against female suppression, which makes this movie a mind-twister and a heart-wrencher… Ideally, Audition is an exhibition of women harassment exploding as something many would wish they never saw, or worse, experienced.

The ingredients varying, all of these make Audition deceptive and a movie with a parade of motifs, which may sound cinematic but is grim to watch, and digest. It really does go to the extent of mayhem during the ending portions. Personally, I felt like turning off the whole thing just out of disgust. That, of course, shouldn’t be interpreted as a knock against the movie. It simply characterizes the extent of the ruthless impact the movie manages to forecast into the viewers. As chaotic as the movie turns out, it is a great testament to the capabilities of Takashi Miike in packaging this unholy and minuscule story into a repulsive horror that starts with the nuances of a romantic mystery and ends as a traumatic experience.

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Appreciating the presentation as I have, I can’t say I’d ever go back and celebrate this movie like I would with other horror classics from Asian Cinema. I’d suggest those who appreciate atmospheric movies and have the belly to digest the unwanted frailties to watch Audition. It might not be the ideal cinematic experience, but is a fine representation of the power of art—being one of the few horrors that are closer to reality than the supernatural. It haunts you not because of the darkness but through the lens of perversity existent in broad daylight. For the sake of cinema, you may watch this dreadful demolishment of power; as an experience, the impression this movie stamps on you may not resemble any adjective aimed at flowering a positive remark. At your own, expense…

A Tale of Two Sisters – A Journey Into Oblivion (2003)

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Star Cast

Lim Soo-jeong as Bae Soo-mi (Elder Sister)
Jung-ah Yum as Eun-joo (Stepmom)
Kap-su Kim as Bae Moo-hyoen (Father)
Geun-Young Moon as Bae Soo-yeon (Younger Sister)

This review contains spoilers.

Known for their cinematography, artwork, and unique style of storytelling, the Koreans have their own quirky ways and nobody quite creates thrillers and horrors better than the Koreans right now. A Tale of Two Sisters is not remotely closed to Charles Dickens’, A Tale of Two Cities; it is, in fact, a dark psychological thriller sure to startle and puzzle viewers with its disquieting story sequencing and the mysterious use of symbols and motifs in furthering the plot.

As such, Director Kim Jee-Woon gives us a lesson in building a cryptic story, adequate spatial utilization, claustrophobic gothic interiors, stark lighting, and a calculatingly thrilling camerawork. Make no mistake though, the most brilliant adage of the movie is the story and the manner the story flows from the start until the end, with flashback sequences scattered across, especially during the final portions of the movie, uncloaking the mystery and leaving viewers amazed by the simple presentation of an immensely engrossing and powerfully executed psychological thriller.

The movie starts with a stunning oeuvre, the background it seems, smooth green wallpaper with various patterns of layers represents different imageries and creates a restrained mood from the go. The same wallpaper where the titles roll incidentally is the exclusive artwork of the gothic house that young Soo-mi, along with her sister Soo-yeon, calls her home after returning from a visit to a faraway territory.

Accompanied by their father Moo-hyoen, the two girls in their mid and early teens enter the house to the greetings of a woman, who seems rather odd, and we later discover her to be their half mother, the second wife of their father. The struggle of opposing forces ensues immediately after the two young girls start living there—with the irresistible force of the stepmother, Eun-joo, matching the immovable object that is Soo-mi. What commences thereon only mystifies the quintessence of the residents of the house, with the story moving deeper and deeper into mayhem and illusion.

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Popular as a horror movie, A Tale of Two Sisters couldn’t be farther from a horror movie. It does have supernatural elements, yet the main focus lies in the etheric dual between the stepmother and the elder daughter, their inherent conflict that goes on increasing until it reaches boiling point and explodes—revealing all the patterns, links, and the mythical questions that viewers hold to themselves until the climax of the movie. Much of the criticism A Tale of Two Sisters holds comes from its rather perplexing plot, sometimes baffling, at other times increasingly frustrating.

Careful observation of the movie does aid in decrypting the hidden messages of the movie. The manner in which the director intelligently ties all loose ends, with every scene, the mannerisms, and actions of the characters laying a path towards eventuality, gives a pleasing feeling at the end because the viewer keeps on guessing until the end and when it nears, it’s completely polarized and incredibly well timed, filmed, and delivered.

A metaphoric movie, A Tale of Two Sisters is a sublime psychological thriller—done neatly with a strong sense of storytelling, terrific sets design, structuring, lighting, and magnificent performances by all the performers. In terms of the pace, A Tale of Two Sisters is methodical and deliberate—building slowly towards the climax, with an emphatic rising action in the second act and a compelling exposition in the first. Various themes surround the movie, but the enthralling one is of the obvious, mental derangement.

In that sense, director Jee-Woon shows the movie, not from an omnipresent third person point-of-view, but from the perspective of Soo-mi—the one with a multiple personality disorder, or the dissociative identity disorder—thereby confusing the rattle out of the viewers, until after the end of the movie where everything seems to settle down. This balance between mystery and oblivion is one of the best aspects of the movie. The director walks this razor’s edge, and handles the story beautifully despite hiding most of the plot from the audiences, whilst ensuring that the action keeps them captivated enough to continue watching the classic.

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The director drops various hints as we move along, but they are rather bizarre and mystifying. When Soo-mi returns home, her stepmom greets her and exclaims that she looks well. Right at that moment, we get the feeling that something isn’t right in the house. Obviously, later on, all of it was just Soo-mi’s imagination as she had two personalities, one of herself, the stepdaughter, and the other of her stepmom. Her sister was already dead, she made up the entire escapade. Soo-mi, of course, acted the two crucial roles on and off and rivaled her own self, whilst imagining her deceased sister with her all along.

It ranges from brilliant in terms of story progression and sadistic, depressing as to how Soo-mi was regressing. The actions of Soo-mi invoke emotions vacillating from pity at her sheer condition, to lunacy when she performs all those actions against herself—acting out the part of her stepmom, and to disgust when she acts as her father’s wife and plays the role of the stepmom despite being his daughter.

The horror facet is very much alive in the movie, not actively but as a passive bystander. Whilst it’s true that Eun-joo had her own stake, her absence throughout the movie—and Soo-mi’s own insanity in full coverage—makes her somewhat of a sympathetic character but not until we really get to know her real self and her role in the demise of the family, which is subtle but powerful. The presentation of this unspoken rivalry and the terrorizing antagonism between Eun-joo and Soo-mi reaches the center stage without any hurry—slow and mechanized, until it becomes a norm over an event.

In the pre climax, after leaving Soo-mi at the mental asylum, Eun-joo returns home only to discover the presence of the haunting spirits—the younger daughter, perhaps even accompanied by her mother. The final sequence when she realizes them, the treatment there isn’t flashy, grisly, or horrific; there is a sense of inevitability, and an actualization of the earlier prophecies that disappeared into silence. This whole episode is foreshadowed in earlier scenes, and the restrained dialogs thrown in intervals do suggest something ominous going on all the time, but it isn’t clear, what, until the tail end of the movie. The dialog, the minimalist dialog style, is perhaps the best aspect of the movie propelling the movie into a mystery classic.

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Garlanded by stunning performances, a magical treatment of a brilliant story, and a pure exhibition of fine arts, along with a brooding style of photography, Kim Jee-Woon sets the tone of the movie right from the onset and remains loyal to it throughout the movie, inciting a clandestine mood in viewers during the 2 hours of non-stop misery. A Tale of Two Sisters is simply a journey. It’s not a ride, but a journey from here to here, and an exemplar movie in the genre of psychological thrillers. Perplexing, bizarre, and genius—a rare combination.

The Innocents – Dreaded Haze of Darkness (1961)

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Borrowing from Ernest Hemmingway’s style of storytelling, the Iceberg style, with the storyteller revealing only 10% and leaving the rest to the audiences, British Filmmaker Jack Clayton (The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne) presents an unusually unique movie in form of The Innocents. A psychological thriller and horror, the Innocents is a story—distinct in concept, blurred in execution, and subtle in the psychological representation of various elements of sexuality, deceit, lust, passion, grief, and solitude engulfed in the movie. Adapted from Henry James’ novella, The Turn of the Screw, the movie version stars the legendary Scottish actress Deborah Kerr—possessing a plethora of classics in her tray—From Here to Eternity, Black Narcissus, King and I, An Affair to Remember—as Governess Miss Giddens. Supporting her in this journey and playing central roles are Martin Stephens as Miles, Pamela Franklin as Flora, and Megs Jenkins as Mrs. Grose.

In historical terms, the Innocents is a landmark movie for British Cinema. Unearthing a puzzling concept, Jack Clayton designs every scene of this dark thriller keeping the psychological notions of viewers in his eyes and stimulating responses through the atmospheric coldness, visual delusions, and the qualms of characters—sometimes appearing, other time vanishing into mirage. Whilst being a thriller more so than an outright horror, Clayton captures the imagination of viewers through a slow, deliberate style of storytelling. The story is simple, but jumbled with a pile of complexities—as what appears hardly serves the truth, and the untold truth comes through depiction of characters and their history, as opposed to story progression and a series of subsequent events.

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The guardian of young Miles and Flora, their Uncle (Michael Redgrave) appoints the inexperienced Miss Giddens as the Governess to his nephew and niece. Unbothered about them, he instructs Miss Giddens to take full responsibility of the children and not to trouble him with anything else. Upon arriving at Bly, she meets Flora and Mrs. Grose—the housemaid—and soon, she is joined by Miles, who is expelled from his school despite what would later turn out to be a startling revelation, as Miles seems to be a mature and elegant young boy. It didn’t take long before Miss Giddens observes unusual activities in the house, with the two siblings in the center of peculiar affairs. Provoked by their weird manners, Miss Giddens discovers the death of a valet, Peter Quint (Peter Wyngarde) and the consequent suicide of the former governess, Miss Jessel (Clytie Jessop)—realizing the two were “very much in love.” Mrs. Grose reveals how passionate of a relationship the two shared and many times shared physical lust in the opens charms of reality, not even slightly concerned about the eyes of the two wonderful children, or other staff members at the mansion. In the events that follow, Miss Giddens is convinced that the spirits of the two lovers are present and are alive in the bodies of the two Innocents; her task—to free them!

In 2010 an immensely popular movie possessing the title, Shutter Island invoked the perceptive intelligences of viewers all across the world. The less known truth is the fact that Shutter Island shares a distorted resemblance with the Innocents. Whilst the plots are completely different, the two movies carry forward the veil of psychological thrillers and bear the torch of greatness, as the genre of psychological thrillers is among the most difficult to actualize and deliver and when done successfully, there is no better artifact than watching a psychological, mind-twisting, imagination-flying, and eyes-stunning sensation on screen. The resemblance between these two hardly appears as such, if only for the crux of the storyline—the jellied form of movie interpretation.

Through the summary viewers may acknowledge the simplicity in the story, yet it is not the story that captures ones heart, it is the way the story unfolds on camera that makes viewers go eerie at times, warm at others, and completely tangled at the end. There are several layers of hidden messages in the movie and what makes the Innocents one of most oblivious, mysterious, and cryptic movies of its time is the psychological undercurrents hidden under each character. The character of Miss Giddens has her own set of repressions and a perspective—reflecting her nature, the staunch Christian ethics of that era, the middle-class lifestyle, and the freedom she found when she took the crown of the governess. On the other hand, the character of Miles showed tendencies that boys about to hit puberty would—but tendencies reflective of isolated living, abandonment, lack of family love and support, and most importantly—sexual abuse due to the disturbing association with Quint and Miss Jessel, who didn’t care if the children saw them perform acts of lustful insanity. For Flora, a rich and privileged young girl, she didn’t realize negative connotations, and lived far across without a motherly or fatherly figure. During her developmental phase, Quint and Miss Jessel were her most alarming influences, and due to their actions and lust for one another and disregard for the psychological and emotional health of the children, Flora developed her unique way of combating external threat—extreme mood swings, secretiveness, and a language—the result of harsh bamboozlement. With three perspectives colliding and the haunted past of the two lovers towering the building, the Innocents races towards a dreading climax—brushing aside all the sceneries—as the three characters are convinced of their righteousness, and when all three believe they are right, something has to give. The innocents have to suffer and fall in breath of reality.

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The Innocents is an outright psychological movie—from the perspective of the central character Miss Giddens. Already amused by the unusual secretiveness of Flora and the striking maturity and flirtatious behavior of Miles towards Miss Giddens, the movie touches the issue of carnal, unsocial attraction between an infant and an adult. Whilst not in any manner explicit, suggestions surround the movie, especially for Miss Giddens who finds a dangerous maturity and puzzling polarity in Miles. With the overtones of sexual union between the two omnipresent characters in the movie, the story becomes all revolving around sexuality, and emotional turbulence for Miss Giddens, while it circulates around sexual abuse, loneliness, and psychological instability for the two children, especially Miles—expelled from school and a boy who is smart, astute, and very much capable of violence meditative of his age. In the case of Flora, she served the characteristics of young, pre-puberty girls in the myth of prosperity but without any support in her austerity. No wonder, the two children find solace in one another, and used to find solace in Quint as in the case of Miles, his role model and Jessel as in the case of Flora—her muse.

The stunning climax reveals the hallucination of Miss Giddens, somebody who is sexually repressed herself, and when she finds so much going on amidst the calamity of the mansion, the line between reality and her conflict against her desires is blurred by her psychological interpretation of the occurrences in this strange house. With no experience in handling children or such circumstances before, Miss Giddens shows her naivety by mishandling the incidences, although not entirely her fault as the children seemed in a labyrinth themselves and the fabricated happenings only triggered the revolver for her and the children too. At the end, with the departure of Miles, and the sensual kiss that she returns—signifies the death of innocence, the birth of sensuality into a land of temptations. For Miles, it was only darkness and for Miss Giddens, it was her corruption that events brought about and her conditionings catalyzed her to avoid.

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Uncanny to modern cinema in certain ways, the Innocents is not just a movie with an imperative, intelligent screenplay and central plot, it can also serve as a school for filmmaking enthusiasts, film experts and critics, film historians, and any individual interested in the art of film behind the lens. There are primarily four facets of the movie that contributed in the impact of the scene, progression of story, as well as invoking the desired reaction: the Lighting, Atmosphere, Cinematography, and Music. For monochrome movies, there are few that have captured the scenic beauties and exploited cinematography at the level the Innocents manages. Rivaling the technological leap of today’s world, the movie utilizes atmospheric cinematography and lighting with such splendor, disparity, and variance that the untold message enters right into the viewer through the eyes straight into the emotions—without the logical brain interfering with interpretation. It is the usage of such diffusing lighting methods that creates a peculiar atmosphere—pleasant, haunted, sometimes both at the same time!

The combinative works of the Cinematographer (Freddie Francis), Art Director (Wilfred Shingleton), and Director is some of the best and most influential in the history of Cinema, as the result is one stunning aesthetic masterpiece, with psychological elements weaved together to create a fabled movie. For that reason alone, the movie should be in the list of must watch movies for any individual associated with film—physically and emotionally. The background score (Georges Auric) compliments the feelings of the characters, which it should—but the level of musical shocks that Auric persists is hardly in tune with the horror genre rather, he focuses on inducing slow, poisonous venom in viewers as they search—along with the central character—the end to the misery and myriad illusions of uncertainty, treachery, silent violence, and insanity.

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Last but not without respect, the star of the screen was, undeniably, young Martin Stephens—delivering a mature performance beyond his years and charming the screen like an actor in repose would, with ease. Easy with the dialogs, subtle mannerisms resembling mental exertion, and the grace of a wise man—it seemed—Martin Stephens is annexed in the cult of young geniuses who portrayed their talents at such tender age. The Innocents is far beyond its time and era, and is a defining movie in the genre of thrillers. The movie isn’t scary, but it wasn’t intended to be! It is thrilling, spooky, and spine chilling; however—and one true masterpiece from Clayton and his team.

Images – Flickr, Tumblr, Cluttered Classic Attic, Cineplex, Lenin Imports